During a visit to India in 2007, Amy Stretmater purchased some items that utilized environmentally hazardous waste materials (i.e. plastic bags and discarded innertubes) to create “clean, funky and fashionable” accessories such as handbags and wallets.
She realized that these were unusual items for which there could be a wide-open market in the United States. In an active search for items that fell into similar parameters, she added stationery fashioned from elephant dung and embellished with contemporary graphics as well as modern jewelry created from vegetation based paper.
She came to SCORE to find out what was necessary in order to start an import business. Her counselor, Marge Schneider, worked with her over several sessions to establish a business and financial plan as well as a strategy for marketing and promoting the products. Amy exhibited her merchandise at street festivals and expos, such as the Navy Pier Green Festival, and acting on Marge’s advice, immediately began to acquire a substantial clientele. She is currently doing business with nearly a dozen retailers nationwide and her business is growing steadily. Amy’s business motto is “We take the worthless and make it priceless!”
As Amy said: “Upon advice from Marge I was able to secure wholesale orders from numerous regional boutiques and expect this to quickly grow through her PR recommendations.”